With lockdown accelerating the trend for premium beverages at home, stocking a strong range of botanical beauties such as the well-respected brands listed here, will help satisfy demand from discerning customers looking for a little ‘ginspiration’!
26 April 2021 | 0
During a tough year, sales of alcohol in supermarkets surged as consumers looked to keep spirits high throughout lockdown periods. Indeed, a July 2020 report from Kantar stated that sales of alcohol in supermarkets grew by 76% in just 12 weeks.
Gin has proven itself to be the choice of many. According to Nielsen, over the full eight-week period from 9 March to 3 May, purchases of gin in off-licences increased 38%. In fact, the IWSR forecast both whisky and gin to rebound fastest to pre-Covid-19 levels.
The gin market has been growing in Ireland for some time. Figures from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis suggest that gin continued to rack up sales in 2019, with volumes rising 4.6%. Gin’s share of the spirits market sits at 14.4%, making it the third most popular spirit behind vodka and Irish whiskey. Over the last four years, gin recorded compound annual growth of 28.2%. Today, a third of the world’s best-selling cocktails are gin-based.
Speaking to Drinks Industry Ireland last year, Richard Corbett, senior market analyst for Ireland, UK and the Nordics at IWSR said premium and super premium gins have been outpacing the standard gin segment. “This premiumisation process has accelerated since lockdown,” said Corbett, adding that those not economically impacted by the crisis could be encouraged to upgrade to a more premium product. Meanwhile, data suggest that Irish gin drinkers are likely to be more affluent types between 25 and 40, with a bias towards women.
With many eyes on the sector, here we will look at the latest offerings from the biggest brands.
Reaping rewards and awards!
Grace O’Malley Heather Infused Irish Gin, created in honour of one of Ireland’s greatest treasure hunters, Grace O’Malley the Irish pirate queen, continues to capture silver and gold. Most recently awarded at the San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge 2021, it has earned a total of six gin awards internationally.
Grace O’Malley Heather Infused Irish Gin wins its predominant flavour from the beautiful bell shape flowers of heather, in full pink and purple bloom in springtime. Featuring a total of 14 botanicals, its defining aromatics include wild thyme, red clover, blackthorn, fraughan and rock samphire, all found in abundance along the Wild Atlantic Way, celebrating Grace’s territory on land and by sea. Rounded and balanced, made in traditional style with modern distillation techniques, Grace O’Malley Heather Infused Irish Gin delivers a true taste intensity and a wonderfully fresh, floral finish.
Grace O’Malley Heather Infused Irish Gin retails at €35 RRP and is available from SuperValu and leading off-licenses nationwide. Brave, bold and irresistible, Grace O’Malley Irish Whiskey and Grace O’Malley Heather Infused Gin is inspired by the many stories from Granuaile’s long and fascinating life to ensure the legend lives on and her great, rebellious heart is never forgotten. Celebrating female leadership through rebellious spirit, the brand honours Grace O’Malley, regarded as not just one of Ireland’s but the world’s most inspirational and extraordinary female trailblazers.For further information, see www.graceomalleywhiskey.com.
From the West Coast of Ireland to treasure hunters around the world, the brand’s pithy message is ‘Sláinte and #BelieveInGrace!’
Comans launched Puerto de Indias Strawberry Gin in summer 2019. After having some success in the on-trade, Comans has now begun to target off-licences and independents with this distinguished pink gin. This is Spain’s bestselling flavoured gin and the first premium gin that inspired a whole new category and remains the only pink gin made with distilled fresh strawberries. With its sweet and wild aroma of strawberry and juniper berries, this pink gin provides an authentic flavour to those seeking new and stimulating sensations.
Strikingly smooth to taste and beautiful to behold in its iconic Bristol-blue glass bottle, the original, multi-award-winning 6 O’clock Gin was born in 2010, perfected from an old family gin recipe. To produce this Damson flavoured gin, the brand takes the gin produced to the original recipe and immerses it in freshly picked damson plums. This creates an uniquely flavoured gin that is equally pleasing to sip or drink with tonic or ginger beer.
After partnering with Alltech in 2020, Comans is now the exclusive distributor of several of Alltech’s award-winning spirits brands including Ha’penny and Míl gins.
Ha’penny Dublin Dry Gin is a small batch pot distilled gin featuring 13 expertly selected botanicals offering a unique flavour profile and taste inspired by Dublin. The Ha’penny Rhubarb Gin is a refreshing, distinctively pink small batch gin made with the finest Irish rhubarb. Both gins are available in-store and online from SuperValu, O’Briens, Celtic Whiskey Shop and the Irish Drink Shop.
Míl Gin was created by a team of adventurous ginthusiasts from the Pearse Lyons Distillery which is located in the historic St. James Church in Dublin. Inspired by the warm golden light from the stain glass window which depicts the Camino de Santiago in North-West Spain, where tradition has it St. James is buried, they began exploring recipes for an Iberian-Irish fusion gin. Míl Gin captures the essence of this expedition, using pure Irish gin with the taste of the sunny Iberian peninsula – a land of almonds, basil, bergamot orange, goose- berry, juniper, olive, orris, rosemary and thyme. The Míl range also includes the 25cl Míl gin spritz and grapefruit infused Míl gin Rosa cans and the whole range is available from multiple supermarkets and independents.
Aviation Gin is made in Portland, Oregon, crafted in the traditional Dutch style. It is designed to be softer and smoother than London dry gin, with juniper in the back and citrus and floral notes in the front for a balanced medley of botanicals taking flavour to new heights. Its unique recipe has resulted in Aviation gin becoming one of the highest rated gins in the world, receiving 97 points from Wine Enthusiast magazine. Its success in global markets has been driven by its inimitable brand ambassador Ryan Reynolds and his knack for creating viral ad content for the brand. Aviation Gin is excellent in cocktails and also in more traditional G&T style serves and is available online and in-store from Celtic Whiskey Shop, O’ Brien’s, Molloys Liquor Stores and Wine Online.
A once-in-a-blue-moon release
Hendrick’s Gin unveils Hendrick’s Lunar Gin, described as “a small batch, limited release gin conjured up from the oddities in Ms Lesley Gracie’s Cabinet of Curiosities at the Hendrick’s Gin Palace.
This most peculiar and unusual gin, “conceived beneath the celestial light of the moon”, yields an alluring complexity and a delightful warmth, which is best suited to refreshing sundowners, night-sipping, moon gazing and other sensible modes of contemplation.
This is the second release from Hendrick’s esteemed master distiller, Ms Lesley Gracie’s Cabinet of Curiosities and showcases how Ms Gracie’s curious mind is in part inspired by the spectacular surroundings in her playground at the Hendrick’s Gin Palace.
The Hendrick’s Gin Palace is a most extraordinary place, hidden away in the remote Scottish Ayrshire coast. Away from the city lights and the hustle and bustle, the stars shine bright and the moon makes its magical presence felt.
Ms Gracie is known for a spot of midnight gardening and regularly tends to her blossoming collection of botanicals under the influence of moonlight. It was here one moonlit evening, whilst tending to the botanicals in her beloved hothouse, she was inspired to create this refreshingly rich, warm, alluring gin.
Hendrick’s Lunar Gin is an intriguing combination of the refreshing, the warm and the floral and is designed to be shared and savoured of an evening as the sun goes down and the moon charges the sky.
“With Hendrick’s Lunar Gin there is the warmth of some of the botanicals, like being wrapped up warm and snug of an evening,” says master distiller Ms Gracie. “There is the rich aroma of night scented flowers and in the background there, you can just about make out the refreshing burst of citrus. It’s not bright and in your face like the midday sun, it’s calm, chilled and subtle. It’s a feeling. There is something magical about the sky at night and sharing that experience with those closest to you, and this gin wraps that sensation up in a glass.”
Ally Martin, global brand ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin advises on some simple serves that bring this most unusual offering to life that can be easily recreated at home: “Hendrick’s Lunar Gin is designed to be savoured during quiet nights at home. All true Hendrick’s lovers will know our gin works spectacularly well with our signature cucumber garnish, and Hendrick’s Lunar Gin is no different in that respect, but it lends itself to the addition of black pepper too, to accentuate the top notes of this gin.
“A stunning sundowner would be a Moonlight Buck, a stellar combination of Hendrick’s Lunar, ginger ale and lemon juice garnished again with cucumber and this time a twist of lemon. What’s more, Hendrick’s Lunar Gin can be stirred down into a Starry Old Fashioned and savoured under the light of the moon. An Old Fashioned made with gin may sound peculiar but trust me it’s startlingly good.”
Hendrick’s Lunar Gin is now available in SuperValu across ROI as an exclusive until April 28th. It will replace Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice which spritzed up the summer in 2019. It is bottled at 43.4% ABV and RRP: €46.
For further information, go to www.hendricksgin.com.
In October 2019, a new premium gin brand launched in Ireland, which its makers are confident is “extraordinary from the top down”.
Wilde Irish Gin emerged onto the scene with dramatic flair, from the nod to Oscar Wilde’s cane on the intricate cap, to the bespoke book shaped purple bottle, this Irish gin has the undeniable presence of its namesake. Uncharacteristically, Wilde is a background character on this occasion. It’s a gin that takes centre stage, with notes of wild mountain purple heather and bitter orange peel.
This unique gin is made in Ireland using select Irish ingredients, which are carefully distilled by hand in small batches with two copper pot stills to ensure a level of quality that can only result from a master distiller’s intuition.
An extraordinary bottle, designed by the world-famous Stranger & Stranger, ensures this premium spirit stands out amongst the rest.
The signature Wilde and Tonic is refreshing, elegantly balanced, and whimsically elaborated by Wilde’s unique botanicals that pop with a citrus twist.
In keeping with their dramatic approach, Wilde Irish Gin is committed to supporting the arts, and local artists in particular. The company is proud to be the official gin sponsor of The Dublin Fringe Festival since 2019 which includes the Wilde Irish Gin Writer’s Bursary.
Wilde Irish Gin is available in 70cl bottles through Celtic Whiskey, Drink Store, Wine Online, Mitchell & Son and SuperValu nationwide with premium bottle display stands coming to the off-trade later this year.
For more information contact your Tindals representative or Wilde Irish Gin brand ambassador, Stuart Cullen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Multi award-winning The Exiles Irish Gin from the Wild Geese premium Irish spirits collection is the only gin in the world to contain shamrock extracts. An artisanal product made with the assistance of an eighth-generation gin maker, whose family have been distilling gin for over 300 years, The Exiles is a small batch production gin using traditional pot distilling method.
Skilfully infused with botanicals including shamrock, red clover flowers, honeysuckle flowers, rowan berries and bog myrtle, it artfully captures the essence of Ireland. With a nose opening up to notes of citrus zest, pine, eucalyptus, violet and apple peel, it wraps up on the finish with more zest and hints of cracked black pepper. It’s bottled at 41.3% ABV, for a more rounded and dryer profile, resulting in a crisp, smooth and floral gin. Distilled for ultimate crispness, it’s an impeccable base for a sling, fizz, or classic martini, and is the perfect partner to any of the excellent artisanal tonic waters now widely available.
This contemporary Irish gin has won multiple awards, from Silver at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition to Gold at the Q Quality Awards. For more information, visit www.protege-international.com.
Ninth Wave Irish Gin is inspired by a love of Irish mythology and its links to the sea. Legend tells of a mystical, magical place, invisible to the naked human eye, known as the ‘Otherworld’, where the Irish Sea god Mac Lir lived.
The recipe for Ninth Wave Irish Gin was conceived by Hinch Distillery chairman Dr Terry Cross OBE and his team. The nose begins with wonderful fruit flavours. It is full of citrus notes, sweet vanillas and a hint of dew-covered grass. It contains juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, orris root, cassia bark, dried lemon peel, cardamom, grains of paradise and dried lemon verbena.
Ninth Wave Irish gin has a bottle design, in ocean blue glass, incorporating the symbolism of the Celtic Triskellion (triple spiral) which adorns many ancient monuments throughout Ireland.
The iconic Ninth Wave Irish Gin has just launched a new limited edition, Ninth Wave Export, which will be distributed internationally
Established in 2020, Hinch Distillery is based in County Down and has been acclaimed as a multiple gold winner both at home and abroad. Impressively, Ninth Wave was the World’s Most Highly Awarded Gin 2020 at major competitions.
As unique as the man himself!
The award-winning Graham Norton Irish Gins are widely available in Ireland via SuperValu and Centra stores, distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
The latest additions to the Graham Norton range have been Graham’s Own Irish Gins, featuring a clear original and a Pink Gin. These gins are made in West Cork Distillery close to Graham’s hometown.
Distilled and produced using 100% Irish grain, both gins draw their flavours from a combination of 12 botanicals. These include angelica, fuchsia flowers, orris roots, rose hip, basil and liquorice root – all of which contribute to a gin which is as unique as the man himself!
Graham has even created his own Cocktail Ginsecco – a glass of Graham Norton Frizzante prosecco, topped up with a dash of his own pink gin and strawberry to garnish! Or for those who prefer a G&T, the perfect serve for Graham Norton’s Own Irish Gin is best enjoyed with Indian tonic water, lashings of ice and fresh lime to garnish. The Graham Norton’s Own Irish Pink Gin is best enjoyed with Indian tonic water, lashings of ice and red berries to garnish.
The range is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
Floral, fragrant and flavourful
Glendalough Rose Gin, is an unique, exceptional gin, first created to toast Rose, the mother of Glendalough’s head distiller, Rowdy Rooney, at his brother’s wedding. It was crafted using roses from her own much-loved garden and was, he felt, the perfect way to honour her life. “She had recently passed away, and we wanted her to be there in spirit, so-to-speak,” explains Rowdy. “Her favourite place was her garden, so we used that to make a gin,” he adds.
With care and attention, Rose’s garden produces just enough rose petals to include in every batch. This handmade process naturally puts a limit on how much the distillery can make, with the sheer number of wild plants and flowers involved. Wild foraged plants from the mountains are fresh-distilled for the taste of wild Wicklow that you’d expect from Glendalough, while fresh rose petals bring the lofty floral air and natural pink hue.
“We gently vapour distil the delicate fresh petals, and infuse even more roses afterwards to heighten the flavours and colour. The floral, fragrant and flavourful result is some of the best gin we’ve made.” adds Rowdy.
Glendalough Rose Gin won the highly coveted Masters award at the 2019 Spirits Business Gin Masters and best Irish flavoured gin at the 2021 World Gin Awards.
Vibrant, citrus taste
The Muff Liquor Company was established in 2017 by Donegal entrepreneur Laura Bonner. Inspired by Laura’s grandfather’s recipes of poitin – a spirit made from potatoes – The Muff Liquor Company produces premium potato-based Irish spirits based in Co. Donegal.
The Muff Liquor Company has already won many prestigious awards with its premium spirits recognised by industry experts across the globe – and the company is only getting started!
Muff Irish craft potato gin, is not a traditional juniper-led gin, instead it gets its vibrant and citrus taste from the citrus botanicals used during distillation. The six times distilled Muff Gin has won multiple awards globally for its unique flavour with botanicals consisting of mandarin, lemon, rosemary, grapefruit and champagne abstract has been added for its distinct taste.
Awards of note for Muff Gin include Gold at The Drinks Business, Gin Masters 2018, Gold at the Irish Gin Awards 2019, Best in Ireland at the Gin Guide Awards 2019, and Silver at The Spirits Business, Gin Masters 2020.
To enjoy the Muff Gin signature serve, the brand recommends:
- A measure of Muff Gin
- Slice of orange
- Sprig of rosemary
- Premium Indian tonic
The Muff Liquor Company’s premium gin, vodka and whiskey are available worldwide and distributed by Bevella (part of Primeline) for the Island of Ireland. For orders, contact email@example.com or call +353 87 332 6783 / +353 (01) 835 3000.
Smooth and mellow
Conncullin Irish Gin is handcrafted at the Connacht Distillery in Ballina. Co. Mayo. The inspiration for the name Conncullin comes from the two Mayo lakes Lough Conn and Lough Cullin, where the distillery’s water source originates. The beautiful bottle design is also inspired by the clear water of the lakes and would no doubt take pride of place displayed on the shelf of any gin lover.
Made from a variety of carefully selected botanicals including elderberry flower and hawthorn berry, the flavours are big and bold with a strong berry nose. Although it has kept a relatively low profile since its launch in 2017, Conncullin Gin has been widely commended by those in the know, receiving a Gold Medal from the International Review of Spirits as well as being rated at 91 points by Wine Enthusiast magazine and most recently winning a Gin Masters Gold Medal in December 2020. This is a smooth and mellow gin ideal for savouring on the rocks, and also lends itself perfectly to a refreshing gin and tonic.
Going aginst the grain
Blood Monkey Irish Craft Gin is partnering with Bevella to expand distribution across Ireland and bring a new taste profile within premium gin to Irish spirit drinkers.
Blood Monkey is quite unique to the category in that is distilled as a sipping gin – one of only a few gins that is designed to be enjoyed neat.
The inaugural product from Irish-owned Outcast Brands, Blood Monkey is distilled by West Cork Distillers, Skibereen. Master distiller, Deirdre Bohane notes: “Blood Monkey is a sophisticated spirit with a complex character that reveals various details as it evolves on the palate. It hits you with a smooth, warm citrus spice followed with a slight hint of floral entwined with smoky, caramel flavours.”
The brand will be bringing out a limited edition flavoured gin later in the summer.
Available nationally via Bevella – the drinks division of Primeline Group – for orders, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 087 3326783 / (01) 8353000.
Welcome on board!
Bevella, a strong, confident offspring of Ireland’s largest distributor, Primeline Sales & Marketing, is welcoming retailers on board a new adventure.
Bevella has a vision to be Ireland’s best Independent brand led distributor to the on and off-trade in terms of range, service, revenue growth and future focus.
For a Q2 2021 launch, Bevella is developing and will distribute a tight, but effective portfolio of emerging and on trend Irish and international premium beverages in both on and off trade divisions throughout the island of Ireland.
Bevella will focus on key business areas such as industry knowledge and understanding of customers, trade and trends, partnering and planning with brand owners; and nurturing reliable, supportive, revenue driving interdependent relationships with publicans, wholesalers and retailers.
The group’s partners to date include The Muff Liquor Company – Gin, Vodka and Whiskey, Blood Monkey Gin, Connacht Whiskey Company – Straw Boys Vodka and Poitín, Conncullin Gin, Ballyhoo Whiskey and the new to launch Connacht single malt which will emerge in Q2 2021, Two Stacks Whiskey, Killowen Whiskey, Rum and Craft Gins and Xoriguer Mahon Gin.
“Bevella will exude Primeline’s 30 years of experience as well as an enhanced determination to bring diversity and new experiences to the Irish alcohol industry, says Bevella director, Paul McInerney. “Our experience, capability, imagination and resources are at your disposal, whether you have a brand to distribute, a bar to fill, or an off-licence shelf to stock.”
For further details, contact Bevella on +353 87 332 6783 / +353 (01) 835 3000 or email email@example.com.
Discover the possibilities within
Bombay is a gin brand with a heritage and iconic bottle that most will recognise, with additions to the range including last year’s limited edition Bombay Sapphire English Estate, as well as Bombay Sapphire East, and Star of Bombay.
2020 also saw the release of Bombay Bramble. Made with freshly harvested blackberries and raspberries, this gin captures the real flavour and essence of fresh berries when they are at their most ripe, imparting their rich, vibrant characteristics.
Bombay Bramble is best enjoyed simply with tonic, poured over ice and garnished with a squeeze of lemon; a sophisticated option for those that enjoy a touch of fruit in their G&T. Easy to mix, Bombay Bramble is perfect for experimentation with its rich, bold, berried flavour. The refusal to add additional sugar and artificial flavours increases Bombay Bramble’s versatility and provides a far more sophisticated taste.
The innovation doesn’t stop there, 2021 will see extensions to Bombay’s ready to drink (RTD) range.
Bombay Sapphire & Tonic already allows consumers to enjoy this premium gin as a bar-quality gin and tonic serve, whatever the occasion, wherever they are. It combines the brand’s signature vapour-infused London dry gin with the perfect balance of tonic water, for a superior taste experience.
New to the range will be the introduction of both Bombay Sapphire Gin & Light Tonic and Bombay Bramble & Tonic.
Bombay Sapphire & Light Tonic is an invigorating and refreshing drink, vapour infused with exotic botanicals, mixed with the perfect balance of light tonic. With only 90 calories and 30% lower carbs than the signature Bombay Sapphire & Tonic, it still delivers the familiar refreshing, vibrant and stimulating taste.
Bombay Bramble & Tonic meanwhile has a rich, bold, berried flavour with no added sugar, featuring a blend of 100% natural blackberries and raspberries with the signature London Dry Gin, mixed with premium tonic water. This light, bright and uplifting drink is a nod to the classic Bramble Cocktail.